Around the Cauldron · Bardic Writings · Pagans Down Under · The Forest Path

Druids Down Under National Gathering – Eisteddfod

I am the stones, the earth and the bones…

I wasn’t sure what to expect upon arrival, but I was soon overwhelmed by the feeling of familiarity. I felt like I had come home. The natural debris of fallen leaves and pine needles upon the ground beneath the towering eucalypts and pines tried to hide the pathways from being navigated across the grounds. The stones that bordered the paths moved between visible and hidden behind the earthy, green natural overgrowth, as though it was always meant to be that way.

I am the seed to the sky that breathes…

The song of the kookaburra and call of the lorikeets echoed across the grounds, allowing you to forget you were but moments from one of the busiest roads in the city. I suppose if you really listened hard enough you’d be able to hear the rumble of engines up the hill, but that is a task best left alone. Within the grounds the altar set up had begun. One could imagine a powerful fire roaring from within, the souls of us gathered dancing around…but it would soon not be. Instead, fire demanded a more delicate form to command space – a single candle – which would bring a determined focus to the event. Fire is stubborn, ferocious, and it made its desire known regardless of initial intentions.

I am the stream to the river’s child…

Emotions heightened, laughter roared and embraces were made as individuals found one another, their souls calling out for each other regardless to the time that had passed between them. Connections were made and remade; knowledge was shared of individual experiences and different pathways to venture down. The Awen, the fire in the head, flourished. The Bards within us emerged to take centre in all forms – music, song, poetry, story, drumming – and was never discouraged.

I am one with the wild…

This was a gathering that brings “community” into definition. We came from all around the country – from many walks and many paths, from Elders to those relatively new and every one in between; and represented by each of the three main Orders (OBOD, BDO, ADF) as well as DDU as a community which really does have it’s own voice now. We gave honour as one whole community in rituals that honoured our paths collectively. Our songs were shared, our voices joined as one. We were Druids, who love and honour this land and the different energies that make up this land, and that was what mattered.

The Awen I sing…

We were very fortunate to have two very talented acts perform for us, sharing their Bardic gifts at the event. Spiral Dance and K.C. Guy brought the old stories and the new alive through music, allowing us to dance and move and share in the joy that these stories bring.

…from the deep I bring it…

The utmost thanks and gratitude goes to our amazing organisers – Julie Brett, founder of the Druids Down Under FB group, and to Mark of Gliding Seal Events, for putting such a beautiful gathering together. Along with the main organising committee, I believe each one of us attending assisted and volunteered in some form of another, large or small, which is why I believe this gathering brings “community” into definition.

We had gathered to share, to witness, to grow, to acknowledge, with the utmost respect to one another as at the end of the day, we are Druids, and this is our community.

[NB: And yes, I was way too busy enjoying myself to take photos. I unfortunately had to leave before the Eisteddfod, so this is my contribution. The words in Italics are not my own, but form the soul of the National Gathering by those who gathered.]

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